The socio-economic trajectories of migrant street vendors in urban South Africa

30 Apr 2015

This study investigated the means used by immigrants for their insertion into the economic landscape of the entrepreneurial cities of their host countries using street vendors in Cape Town as a case study. The concept of social network was central in the explanation of the mechanism of immigrant insertion in the entrepreneurial city. It helped to explain some of the strategies used by immigrants for their insertion into the market space of urban areas in the destination country. The study was based on a survey of two hundred and eight (208) immigrant vendors from other African countries in five suburbs of Cape Town. The study adapted a mix research approach in which a survey questionnaire, focus group discussions, personal interviews, and observation were utilised to collect and analyse the data. The results of the analysis showed that nationality underpinned by social networks was a major factor in the socio-economic trajectories of immigrants in urban South Africa.